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Psalm 88

By Henry Law


      Sounds of bitter grief wail through this Psalm. We hear the mourning of a wounded spirit. All earthly refuge is shunned; help only is in God.

      1-2. "O Lord God of my salvation, I have cried day and night before You. Let my prayer come before You; incline Your ear to my cry."

      This Psalm is received as the wailing of Heman the son of Zerah. He was illustrious among men for mental gifts. Solomon scarcely exceeded him in wisdom. But under sense of sin he did not find relief in intellect. He flies to God, and pours out his heart in prayer. The whole strain is misery at its full. There is but one word of comfort. He calls upon God, as the God of his salvation. Grasping the plank of saving grace, he could not sink. Let us learn the happy art of wrestling with God, in like spirit of supporting faith.

      3-5. "For my soul is full of troubles, and my life draws near to the grave. I am counted with those who go down into the pit; I am as a man who has no strength. Free among the dead, like the slain who lie in the grave, whom You remember no more; and they are cut off from Your hand."

      His soul is faint through excess of anguish. All vital power seems to be extinct. He regards himself as utterly cut off from life, and as now moldering in the grave. So terrible was his grief that he speaks of himself as already an inhabitant of the tomb.

      6-7. "You have laid me in the lowest pit, in darkness, in the deeps. Your wrath lies hard upon me, and You have afflicted me with all Your waves."

      Misery sighs in deeper notes. He mourns as now separated from God. He wails as though lying in the very pit--amid all blackness of darkness--in the uttermost depths. Can misery be more miserable! Let us look up to Jesus. He has delivered us from all wrath.

      8-9. "You have put away my acquaintance far from me; You have made me an abomination to them; I am shut up, and I cannot come forth. My eye mourns by reason of affliction; Lord, I have called daily upon You; I have stretched out my hands to You."

      Troubles lose much of their burden, when loving friends are near to solace. This comfort was denied to Heman. Alone he mourned. Such too was the lonely state of our beloved Lord. All His friends forsook Him and fled. Prayer will bring Jesus to our side. We may plead His promise, I will never leave You, nor forsake You.

      10-12. "Will You show wonders to the dead? shall the dead arise and praise You? Shall Your lovingkindness be declared in the grave? or Your faithfulness in destruction? Shall Your wonders be known in the dark? and Your righteousness in the land of forgetfulness?"

      The plea is urged, that relief delayed may be too late. When we lie down in the grave, we can no more show forth God's praise, or spread abroad His wonders. While life continues, let us strive to magnify Him, before all our powers are silent in the grave.

      13-14. "But to You have I cried, O Lord; and in the morning shall my prayer comes before You. Lord, why do You cast off my soul? Why do You hide Your face from me?"

      While we have life let it be prayer. This grace will prevail. Let the earliest dawn witness our supplications. Let our cry be the first utterance which reaches God. Let us thus seek to learn why He is absent from us, and why His smile no longer cheers.

      15-18. "I am afflicted and ready to die from my youth up; while I suffer Your terrors I am distracted. Your fierce wrath goes over me; Your terrors have cut me off. They came round about me daily like water; they compassed me about together. You have put lover and friend far from me, and my acquaintance into darkness."

      Fearful is this picture of a soul agonizing under a sense of God's withdrawal. What must be the misery of those realms, into which hope never comes! Let us strive to look off from sin's deserts, to the boundless merits of the dying Savior. He verily redeems from all iniquity. He is the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world. Let us flee to Him. Let us cling to Him. Let us rejoice in Him. Sheltered in Him we cannot be exposed to wrath. There is redemption through His blood, even the forgiveness of our sins. O Jesus! we bless You, we adore You!

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See Also:
   Psalm 1
   Psalm 2
   Psalm 3
   Psalm 4
   Psalm 5
   Psalm 6
   Psalm 7
   Psalm 8
   Psalm 9
   Psalm 10
   Psalm 11
   Psalm 12
   Psalm 13
   Psalm 14
   Psalm 15
   Psalm 16
   Psalm 17
   Psalm 18
   Psalm 19
   Psalm 20
   Psalm 21
   Psalm 22
   Psalm 23
   Psalm 24
   Psalm 25
   Psalm 26
   Psalm 27
   Psalm 28
   Psalm 29
   Psalm 30
   Psalm 31
   Psalm 32
   Psalm 33
   Psalm 34
   Psalm 35
   Psalm 36
   Psalm 37
   Psalm 38
   Psalm 39
   Psalm 40
   Psalm 41
   Psalm 42
   Psalm 43
   Psalm 44
   Psalm 45
   Psalm 46
   Psalm 47
   Psalm 48
   Psalm 49
   Psalm 50
   Psalm 51
   Psalm 52
   Psalm 53
   Psalm 54
   Psalm 55
   Psalm 56
   Psalm 57
   Psalm 58
   Psalm 59
   Psalm 60
   Psalm 61
   Psalm 62
   Psalm 63
   Psalm 64
   Psalm 65
   Psalm 66
   Psalm 67
   Psalm 68
   Psalm 69
   Psalm 70
   Psalm 71
   Psalm 72
   Psalm 72
   Psalm 74
   Psalm 75
   Psalm 76
   Psalm 77
   Psalm 78
   Psalm 79
   Psalm 80
   Psalm 81
   Psalm 82
   Psalm 83
   Psalm 84
   Psalm 85
   Psalm 86
   Psalm 87
   Psalm 88
   Psalm 89
   Psalm 90
   Psalm 91
   Psalm 92
   Psalm 93
   Psalm 94
   Psalm 95
   Psalm 96
   Psalm 97
   Psalm 98
   Psalm 99
   Psalm 100
   Psalm 101
   Psalm 102
   Psalm 103
   Psalm 104
   Psalm 105
   Psalm 106
   Psalm 107
   Psalm 108
   Psalm 109
   Psalm 110
   Psalm 111
   Psalm 112
   Psalm 113
   Psalm 114
   Psalm 115
   Psalm 116
   Psalm 117
   Psalm 118
   Psalm 119
   Psalm 120
   Psalm 121
   Psalm 122
   Psalm 123
   Psalm 124
   Psalm 125
   Psalm 126
   Psalm 127
   Psalm 128
   Psalm 129
   Psalm 130
   Psalm 131
   Psalm 132
   Psalm 133
   Psalm 134
   Psalm 135
   Psalm 136
   Psalm 137
   Psalm 138
   Psalm 139
   Psalm 140
   Psalm 141
   Psalm 142
   Psalm 143
   Psalm 144
   Psalm 145
   Psalm 146
   Psalm 147
   Psalm 148
   Psalm 149
   Psalm 150

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